The Arbour Way Foundation was established by Robin and Marc Wolpow to support health equity, educational opportunity, reproductive rights, and environmental defense.
The Arbour Way Foundation (“AWF”) today announced two significant gifts to mark the launch of the foundation by Robin and Marc Wolpow. AWF made a $10 million commitment to the University of Pennsylvania’s Venture Lab, which will establish a dedicated healthcare entrepreneurship vertical for students. AWF, separately, made a $1 million gift to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSK) Office of Health Equity.
AWF was established to formalize the giving strategy of the Wolpow family. The mission of the foundation, which will apply a “venture philanthropy” model to establish, measure, and ultimately reach charitable objectives, revolves around four primary causes: health equity, educational opportunity, reproductive rights, and environmental defense.
“After 20-plus years of charitable giving, we created the Arbour Way Foundation to take a more hands-on approach to philanthropy,” noted Robin Wolpow. “We believe that AWF will build upon our history of giving, and also provide a platform through which our entire family can engage in causes they’re passionate about to support organizations that make a difference.”
“It’s been my experience, both in a corporate setting and in working with nonprofits, that funding on its own rarely has its anticipated impact,” added Marc Wolpow. “Through AWF, we aim to channel grants to charities best positioned to deliver optimal outcomes. Moreover, when possible, we want to collaborate with the organizations we support – beyond just board participation – to structure our grants so they’re delivering measurable and sustainable change.”
Robin and Marc Wolpow have historically focused their charitable efforts around health equity and educational opportunity. Prior to the launch of AWF, they established the Wolpow Family Initiative for Diversity at Boston Children’s Hospital as part of a $2.5 million pledge that also helped support the ongoing development of the Sandra L. Fenwick Institute for Pediatric Health Equity and Inclusion.
To help commemorate its launch, AWF is proud to announce a transformative gift that enables the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania to launch healthcare entrepreneurship programming at Venture Lab, which will position Wharton and Penn to become the pre-eminent leader in healthcare innovation. With funding from AWF, Venture Lab will be able to increase student access to an entrepreneurial ecosystem with opportunities to explore healthcare through several related programs, including: events, internships and experiential learning opportunities, awards for pre-seed startups, and interactions with industry, faculty, and alumni experts in the space. The commitment will also allow Venture Lab to work with expert faculty to shape students’ educational experience and career goals to equip and advance the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs.
“It is an honor to receive such a meaningful gift from the Wolpows, especially as they launch their Foundation to have a positive impact on the world,” said Penn President Liz Magill. “I am incredibly grateful to the Arbour Way Foundation and to Robin and Marc for their support of Penn as a global leader in healthcare entrepreneurship. This collaboration through Venture Lab will have a tremendous impact on healthcare innovation for decades to come.”
Separately, AWF has also disclosed a commitment of $1 million to MSK’s Office of Health Equity. The gift, to be paid over a three-year term, will bolster research activities focused on reducing cancer health disparities by expanding access to clinical trials for underserved patients across MSK and through its partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals.
“The Cancer Health Equity Research program is accelerating change, working to eliminate health disparities, and advancing equity in MSK’s clinical trials. As more patients from groups historically underrepresented in cancer research participate, we are achieving our central mission to deliver best-in-class patient care to everyone. We are so fortunate to call the Wolpow Family and the Arbour Way Foundation partners in our efforts to reach more people who need MSK’s care,” said Dr. Carol L. Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer; Nicholls-Biondi Chair for Health Equity; Vice Chair Health Equity, Department of Surgery at MSK.
A Top-Down, Collaborative Approach to Change
In addition to the MSK commitment and other smaller grants to help advance health equity, the Arbour Way Foundation also made a $250,000 grant to the American Civil Liberties Union (the “ACLU”) to support reproductive rights and a $250,000 grant to the Natural Resources Defense Council (the “NRDC”), earmarked for environmental-defense litigation.
“We are grateful for the Arbour Way Foundation’s ongoing support and shared commitment to protecting people and safeguarding the environment,” noted Mitchell Bernard, Chief Counsel of NRDC. “Their generosity will allow us to pursue critical impact-driven work that will improve people’s lives, including legal battles to fight for clean drinking water and protect communities from fossil fuel pollution. We look forward to working together to create needed change.”
“We’re excited about the potential impact of these and other grants,” added Marc Wolpow. “In each case, we have applied a top-down approach, starting with the worthy causes that comprise our mission followed by deep, independent research to identify the organizations and specific programs best suited to deliver positive outcomes. AWF doesn’t accept inbound solicitations because the process that goes into grant selection is designed to be collaborative and every grant is determined through a consensus of family members.”
ABOUT THE ARBOUR WAY FOUNDATION:
The Arbour Way Foundation (“AWF”) was established in the spring of 2022 to support programs in health equity, educational opportunity, reproductive rights and environmental defense. Created by Audax Group Co-Founder Marc Wolpow and his wife Robin, AWF is positioned to be a value-added donor able to amplify the impact of its financial support through a collaborative “venture philanthropy” approach to giving.